USMNT Stunned By Panama in World Cup Qualifiers

Konrad De La Fuente with USMNT
Konrad De La Fuente with USMNT. Photo by Lukasz Kalinowski/Shutterstock

The United States men’s national team wasn’t able to extend their 13-game unbeaten streak on Sunday. The USMNT faced Panama in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers game and were handed a surprising 1-0 loss.

The U.S., lacking Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, and Juventus’ Weston McKennie, had no answer for Panama’s defense and failed to create viable opportunities in front of Luis Mejia’s goal. This led to just five shots on the opponent’s goal for the Americans, none of which was on target.

Panama, on the other hand, had much better chances and could have scored as early as the 14th minute, but Rolando Blackburn came late on the dangerous cross by Freddy Gondola. This didn’t discourage Panama, as they continued to attack and eventually found the opener in the 54th minute.

A corner cross from Eric Davis found Anibal Godoy, who beat Gyasi Zardes to the jump and sent the ball past goalie Matt Turner.

USMNT adopted an attacking mindset after the goal but couldn’t create anything in front of Panama’s goal, and the result remained unchanged.

“The quality wasn’t high enough in the final ball when we did get in those [attacking] positions,” USMNT’s manager Gregg Berhalter said after the game. “I think the ability for our players to turn and play forward was lacking today. And overall, again, we performed below the expectations that we have for ourselves.”

Despite the loss, USMNT kept its 2nd place spot on the standings with eight points, five less than leading Mexico. Panama also has eight, but is behind the U.S. on goal difference.